According to a study published in Science Daily, the TIL study demonstrated that after being expanded into an army of billions of immune cells in the lab, a patient’s immune cells could be used as a live therapy against metastatic melanoma, a particularly lethal form of skin cancer.
To the best of our knowledge, TIL is the first randomized, controlled, phase 3 trial comparing different types of T cell treatment for melanoma and other solid cancers.
The Dutch National Health Care Institute will use the data to assess whether TIL treatment will be funded under the country’s universal health care system. On December 8, the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. TIL therapy reduced metastases in 49% of patients with metastatic melanoma in the trial, and metastases completely disappeared in 20%.
The experiment was carried out in collaboration with the National Center for Cancer Immune Therapy in Copenhagen and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Patients who had already obtained therapy through another approach were permitted to participate. However, just 21% of cancer patients who received ipilimumab observed a reduction in the size of their metastases, and only 7% had their metastases disappear.
TIL therapy patients were more likely to be progression-free (PFS) six months after treatment than ipilimumab patients (21% vs. 53%). The median progression-free survival (PFS) for TIL patients was seven months, but it was just three months for ipilimumab patients.
“Remember, these are patients with metastatic melanoma. Ten years ago, melanoma was so lethal that I would see an entirely new patient population every year; now, I’ve been seeing some patients for ten years, thanks to the discovery of immunotherapy, which has revolutionized treatment for melanomas,” said John Haanen, MD, the TIL trial’s principal investigator and a medical oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.
A diagnosis of metastatic melanoma meant death within a year decade ago. However, early clinical studies of cell treatment employing the patient’s T cells as a “living medicine” showed encouraging results. Adding TIL therapy to the arsenal of standard treatments, on the other hand, would necessitate a comparative phase 3 trial, which has never been done.
All patients who received the one-time TIL treatment and 96% of those who received ipilimumab had adverse side effects. The high fevers and chills that frequently follow TIL treatment are produced by the chemotherapy required to make place for the billions of T cells injected, as well as the growth medication interleukin-2 utilized after that.
Researchers plan to improve TIL treatment by lowering the number of T cells sent out or changing the genetic makeup of T cell receptors and then utilizing it to treat other forms of cancer. One of these goals is to decrease side effects by adjusting the dose of the growth factor interleukin-2.
After 6 months, the PFS rate for patients who received TIL therapy was 53%, whereas the control group had only 21%. After a median follow-up of 33 months, patients who received TIL therapy had a substantially longer progression-free survival (7 months) than those who got ipilimumab (3 months).
Patient’s quality of life is increasingly being considered in clinical trials that evaluate therapy efficacy. In this aspect, patients who received TIL performed better than those who received ipilimumab.
This was true for their overall mental and physical status and particular symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort, and sleeplessness. It’s reassuring that TIL patients had a more excellent quality of life than the control group even after 60 weeks.